Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sandpipers: Chotto Matte, SIA A Great Way To Fly


Stephen Thomas Erlewine, when writing about The Sandpipers, wrote that they were a male vocal trio that recorded easy listening pop hits in the mid 60s and was "distinguished by its light, breezy harmonies, which floated over delicate, breezy string arrangements, as well as the occasional appearance of a wordless female backing vocalist who drifted in and out of the music."

Sandpipers did not manage to have a long, sustained career but had one Top Ten hit with Guantanamera in 1966 (numerous Asian versions: check 'Guantanamera' under Labels below). 

There were other songs like Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Misty Roses, Today, Chotto Matte Kudasai and covers. The group was originally known as the Four Seasons and the trio was part of the Californian Mitchell Boys Choir before they formed their own group. 
Famous trumpeter Herb Alpert (remember him with his Tijuana Brass), who ran his own AnM record label was impressed when he heard them and signed them to a record contract.

An added female vocalist, Pamela Ramcier, was one of the most distinctive elements of the group's music and with her mod outfit of mini-skirts and a-go-go boots, made her more noticeable than the actual Sandpipers.

In 1970, Come Saturday Morning became a hit when it was part of the soundtrack for the movie, The Sterile Cuckoo. The Sandpipers continued to record into the '70s but after five years without any chart success, they disbanded in the mid-'70s. (Please read the next posting below.)

In 1979, The Sandpipers had also recorded the Singapore Airlines song, You're A Great Way To Fly on PYE Records orchestrated by Jose Mascolo Lyrics was written by New Monkees Bobby Hart and music from Fred Bongusto (image above).

The melody and lyrics were befitting of the SIA concept: classy, soft and alluring as the gentle giant whispers across land, sea and cloud. The song lures passengers into a smooth and dreamy flight.

Not many people knew about the project, but when the theme song was played on air and the advertisement appeared on TV, everyone cheered and loved the song with its exquisite taste of Pierre Balmain chic and Sandpipers dream voices. And the Singapore Girls? Chantek (beautiful).
One of many SIA advertisements found on YouTube. An early 70's ad.

Image: The Sandpipers - Jim Brady, Mike Piano, Richard Shoff.


Lam Chun See said...

Sandpipers was one of my favourite groups. Did they sing Today? (while the blossom still clings to the vine,...). I also like Lettermen. But I don't know why Gold 90FM never play their songs. For example, I loved their "Love me with all of your Heart". But the DJs at Gold 90FM always play the Engelbert Humperdink version which I think is much worse.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I agree with your comment regarding Gold 90FMs choice of songs.

The songs, I have been told, come off a computer library. It's convenient, so what's not on the list is condemned under a pile of CDs somewhere, waiting to surface when a complaint like yours arises.

I may be wrong but could it be just plain complacency? Perhaps if Media Corps reads this they could reply?

Even former DJs and broadcasters who used to man the consoles make similar comments.

Now that they've taken off the licence fee things could get worse.

Lam Chun See said...

Hey. I noticed you put up the link to Today. Thanks. After I posted the earlier comment, I searched YouTube and confirmed that it was sung by Sandpipers.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

The You Tube video 'Today' was put up earlier, before your first comment.

It's found on SAndpipers LP-135/SP-4135 - (1967)

Song List:

1."Cuando Salí de Cuba" (Luis Aguilé)
2."And I Love Her" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
3."Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" (Bart Howard)
4."Strange Song" (Chip Taylor)
5."The Honeywind Blows" (Fred Hellerman/Fran Minkoff)
6."Misty Roses" (Tim Hardin)
7."Today" (Randy Sparks)
8."I Believed It All" (Al Hirt/Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman)
9."Daydream" (John Sebastian)
10."Wooden Heart" (Fred Wise/Ben Weisman/Kay Twomey/Bert Kaempfert)

You are very meticulous. Thank you for visiting.

Lam Chun See said...

Another of their songs that I like very much is Come Saturday Morning.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, Chun See my favourite too. And it's listed in the article. The movie proved popular.

FL said...

Since the release of the Sandpipers' Guantanamera in the sixties, I have continue to love this slow-moving and catchy song. I remember there listening to the Mandarin and Cantonese versions during those years.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes FL, 'Guantanamera' is one of my favourites too.

There are so many recordings by SE Asian groups that our 60s market became saturated with the different versions available.

Thanks for visiting FL.

Anonymous said...

lovely love song. guitar chords also easy. good for get together.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, it's a beautiful love song that lives forever.

Thanks for the visit.

ROBERT said...


I've got a 45rpm EP called GEAT THEMES OF SIA. I was wondering if you'd like a scanned image of it.

Makes interesting knowledge...


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Again thanks Robert, I shall certain write to you very soon.